El Canal - The thirteenth step ... Six months in South America - CycleBlaze

December 20, 2022

El Canal

The electricity in our cabana went off at nine o'clock this morning.  It turned out that it would be off until three o'clock in the afternoon for scheduled maintenance to the town's power network. Of course all the villagers were aware of this so all the businesses had closed their doors for the day. This included all the grocery stores. We cycled around the village and checked every mercado.  Thankfully there was one with its own generator but they didn't stock all the things we need for the next three days.  In this small villages one often has to visit a few shops to get everything that is on the shopping list.  So we left town without our normal breakfast of oats porridge.  We will just have to improvise. 

The first eight kilometers out of Rio Tranqillo are terrible ripio and climbs about two hundred and fifty meters.  A mice descent follows but the state of the ripio made it slow going.  But luck was on our side and at the sixteen kilometer mark we were presented with some wonderfully smooth packed earth.

Looking northwards after leaving Rio Tranqillo.
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Lago General Carrera.
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Looking westwards towards the Northern Ice Field.
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After the climb out of Rio Tranqillo there are a few short but steep climbs to overcome.
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The smooth road would stay with us until we turned off to the campground at Rio Leone.  Here our luck seemed to disappear along with the smooth road because the gate to the campground was locked and there was no answer from the number on the signboard. 

The road that leads to the closed campground carries on to the Northern Ice Field.
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Leigh found, on iOverlander, a farm about seven kilometers further on that allows camping so we got back on the bikes and cycled the now rather rough kilometers down to a disheveled looking farm between the Carretera Austral and Lago General Carrer.  It turned out to be a little gem once we accepted it for what it is.  All manner of animals wander around and our tent is pitched on as much dung from various sources as grass.  A young foal wandered across to have a look at Leigh while I was chatting to the owner.  Various turkeys, geese and chickens keep getting under our feet.  There is an Anatolian Sheepdog tethered to a sheep as part of his sheep-guard training who would far rather socialize with the many other dogs wandering around the farmyard.  It's chaotic but it is lovely. 

Cycling a bit little bit further than was planned means we may now skip our planned stop at Cerro Color tomorrow night and carry on to Puerto Betrand on the Rio Baker.  This means we could end up in Cochrane a day earlier than we thought.

Today's ride: 39 km (24 miles)
Total: 4,855 km (3,015 miles)

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